After the story we reported on the team’s use of metal AM for the cylinder block, Scuderia Ferrari F1 has turned to 3D printing again, this time for polymer PBF 3D printed sensor mounts, fitted on the F1-75 during the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Friday practice session.
It should be noted that the tests were conducted before the recent underwhelming results, which, however, seem to be due to bad luck more than lackluster vehicle performance. According to a LinkedIn post by Andrew Cunningham, Additive Manufacturing Product Development Engineer at General Motors (another company that has embraced AM at various levels), “the Scuderia tested a new front wing that weekend and likely wanted to measure inboard and outboard front wing height under pitch, roll, and heave via laser ride height sensors.”
From the pictures, it comes clearly across how additive manufacturing (AM) could be easily employed to match the complex front wing geometries directly from digital surfaces (CAD). “Every time I see parts like this made with AM, I think about how much work and time is saved by not having to manufacture these via another method such as composite layups or machining,” Cunningham writes.
The parts in the images are likely unfilled or fiber-filled nylon, 3D printed with powder bed fusion technology such as SLS or MJF. This material offers a good balance of strength, stiffness, impact resistance, and cost. “Lastly – Cunningham points out – because there may be a raised eyebrow or two, the tape securing the wiring is not a simple household type, but helicopter leading-edge protection tape that provides high stretchability, smooth surface finish, and no residue at a high cost of about a dollar per foot or about 300 mm.”